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The history of modern psychiatry in India, 1858-1947

Mills, James (2001) The history of modern psychiatry in India, 1858-1947. History of Psychiatry, 12 (4). pp. 431-458. ISSN 0957-154X

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Abstract

This article presents an introduction to the history of Indian psychiatry. It suggests that this history can be divided into four main periods, 1795 to 1857, 1858 to 1914, 1914 to 1947 and 1947 to the present day. The focus of the piece is on the periods 1858-1914 and 1914-1947, as it traces the main trends and developments of the colonial era and argues that the foundations of modern psychiatry in India were laid down in the period of British rule. A brief consideration of the post-Independence period suggests that the patterns established in the years of British rule have continued to influence the psychiatric system of modern India. Research for these conclusions is based on extensive archival work in Indian mental health institutions and in Indian records offices, as well as work conducted at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh and at the India Office Library, the Wellcome Institute Library and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.